Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
try saying "there's no parsing such a blunderbuss hypothesis" three times real fast & you'll have more fun than you will reading this ill-written, dumb & snarktastic review of a new book about "Howl". Or you can just wait for the next Blunderbuss Hypothesis CD.
Posted by Peter at 10:21 AM
just learned that the The Poetry Society of America will be giving George Stanley this year's Shelley Memorial Award. I can't imagine a more deserving poet, just as there is no living practioner whose work I revere more highly. One of the reasons I publish with New Star is the honor of associating with his publisher (since "You" in 1974!), and my readings with him in NYC and DC in the fall of 2003 are amongst the highlights of my professional life. I remember George telling me a long time ago that when he met Czeslaw Milosz he was careful to compliment him as a great poet of Berkeley, so while this prize is ostensibly given to an American poet, I salute him here as one Canadian to another.
from "Paradise Shelter"
Whatever this place is
that we will not admit
to each other we have discovered
is all there is.
Each unapproachable and fiery self
physically and symbolicallyinvolutional.
sighted across blocks,
universes passed us
we can't make contact
through our life-support systems.
A birthday candle,
a light, a shadow
or something you saw
in the air around you
a being seeing back.
in search of procedure
each act of
my short review of A Tall, Serious Girl: Selected Poems 1957-2000
Posted by Peter at 8:21 AM
good New Order appreciation--
"It wasn't merely the embrace of new technology that allowed for this quantum leap. In Sumner, New Order's earliest liability slowly evolved into its secret weapon. The band had borrowed elements from club music and guitar rock�two forms that, in the 1980s, seemed allergic to subtlety or intimacy�and crafted something large-sounding, smart, and reluctant. Once Sumner realized that he could never conjure Curtis' existential woes with the same literal force, New Order became a brilliant shell game of perfect moments, divine transcendence, wicked wit, and intense, hurtful bruising, all conveyed in the flattest, most matter-of-fact tones possible."
Posted by Peter at 7:49 AM
Thursday, May 04, 2006
best thing I've read on the Stephen Colbert performance--
"There were people at last night's dinner who really could end up in jail -- depending on Patrick Fitzgerald's theory of the case and/or the results of the next two elections. Things have been done over the past five years that can't be undone; crimes committed that can't be uncommitted. If Colbert faced a tough crowd last night, it was probably because so many of them understand that the Cheneyites and the Rovians really are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenberg, and that if the airship goes down in flames their own window seats are going to get pretty toasty. Jobs are at stake. Careers could be at stake. For all we know lives could be at stake.
It's an ugly moment, and expecting people like that to laugh at their own misfortunes isn't very realistic. I'll give Colbert major props for his political courage, but none for knowing how to please an audience. If he'd really been working the room, he would have thrown in a few step-n-fetch it Arabs, a snotty Brit and some white trash clowns -- like the stock characters in American Dreamz. It wouldn't have been nearly as funny, but it might have helped the kool kids forget their sorrows, at least briefly."
Posted by Peter at 11:02 AM
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Ugly edit detergent waves through your trunk
Loop current through your arm and out your back
Loop current from the bottom of a well
Teddy's voice from the bottom of a well
Theo's beats from under the floorboards
'the love I lost'
but something about seeing
a picnic table all exposed on
its back like that made me look away,
and the screen filled with blue sky
just as the golf channel lost the ball,
then we watched it clear the Playmobil
treetops before coming to a soft rest
by a little lake with applause like ducks.
Posted by Peter at 3:30 PM
Posted by Peter at 2:20 PM
The roots of May Day
"Today's marches and boycotts are restoring to May Day something of its old civic meaning and working-class glory. Even some of the most viciously anti-union employers of Latino labor, like Perdue, Cargill, and Tyson Foods, kept their factories closed. As in the crucial struggles that began more than a century ago, today's marches have forged a link among working-class aspiration, celebrations of ethnic identity, and insistence on full American citizenship. It's an explosive combination. And it could revive and reshape liberal politics in our time."
Crucially too, it seems to me, this movement has nothing to do with America's counter-productive and masochistically self-destructive academic left, the kiss of death to social action for decades. But watching the marching crowds on TV was at least partly watching people walk straight out of the Republican party's "big tent".
Posted by Peter at 8:36 AM
Monday, May 01, 2006
a reconsideration of Robert Moses
"New Yorkers are asking if our city needs another Robert Moses," Alexander Garvin wrote in Topic Magazine. "It is an appropriate question: Despite his mistakes and his failures, nobody, not even Baron Haussmann in 19th Century Paris, has ever done more to improve a city," added Garvin, who until this spring worked as top planner for the head rebuilding agency, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and also developed the plans for the 2012 Olympic bid. "In truth, Moses was not omnipotent, but rather an unusually gifted public servant who had mastered the Art of Getting Things Done. That art deserves attention more than ever."
Moses was the subject (and villain) of one of my all-time favorite books, Robert Caro's The Power Broker : Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
Robert Moses' Response to the book.
Posted by Peter at 6:26 PM
(Jacobs nemesis Robert Moses)
interesting Jane Jacobs reconsideration...
"The threats facing the contemporary city are not what they were when she first formed her ideas, now nearly 50 years ago. The activists of Ms. Jacobs's generation may have saved SoHo from Mr. Moses' bulldozers, but they could not stop it from becoming an open-air mall.
The old buildings are still there, the streets are once again paved in cobblestone, but the rich mix of manufacturers, artists and gallery owners has been replaced by homogenous crowds of lemming-like shoppers. Nothing is produced there any more. It is a corner of the city that is nearly as soulless, in its way, as the superblocks that Ms. Jacobs so reviled."
Posted by Peter at 5:54 PM
farewell to great Penguin paperback designer Germano Facetti
"He used the sans serif typefaces Standard and Helvetica for the author, book title and series name, always in the same size and position above the image, which, on fiction titles, could be a painting, a drawing or a photograph of a piece of sculpture. The typographic style, influenced by fashionable modernist Swiss typography, was both inviting and as clear as a sheet of glass."
Posted by Peter at 10:08 AM
Spelling Mistakes Getting Locked In
"According to the Oxford English Corpus, a database of a billion words, dozens of traditional phrases are now more commonly misspelled than rendered correctly in written English...
"Just desserts" is used 58% of the time instead of the correct spelling, "just deserts" (desert is a variation of deserve), while 59% of all written examples of the phrase in the Corpus call it a "font of knowledge or wisdom" when it should be "fount"."
I thought it had something to do with pudding fountains.
Posted by Peter at 7:41 AM
Sunday, April 30, 2006
"The Kenduskeag -- American Indian for "eel catching place" -- begins about 20 miles west of the Penobscot River and follows a relatively straight path with gradual curves as it cuts through craggy rocks exposed in the stream bed after the recession of the glaciers that once capped much of Maine before receding at the end of the ice age to create the unique beauty that is the Maine landscape.
Despite the enormous development since Thoreau first visited Bangor, the Kenduskeag has retained much of its natural character. In fact, the disappearance of the dozens of sawmills that once lined the stream in the mid- to late 1800s may have enhanced the stream's beauty to being even greater than when Thoreau walked its banks. The stream has survived the pollution and environmental damage wrought by Bangor's once-affluent and prodigious lumber industry, it has survived the dumping of raw sewage in the early to latter part of the 20th century, and it made it through the Urban Renewal movement of the 1960s that threatened to conceal the stream's path through downtown Bangor with pedestrian plazas and malls overhead."
Posted by Peter at 11:08 AM
Iconoclastic Economist John Kenneth Galbraith Dies
"The family which takes its mauve and cerise, air-conditioned, power-steered, and power-braked automobile out for a tour passes through cities that are badly paved, made hideous by litter, blighted buildings, billboards, and posts for wires that should long since have been put underground."
"They picnic," he added, "on exquisitely packaged food from a portable icebox by a polluted stream and go on to spend the night in a park which is a menace to public health and morals. Just before dozing off on an air mattress, beneath a nylon tent, amid the stench of decaying refuse, they may reflect vaguely on the curious unevenness of their blessings."
Probably the first economics I ever learned was from my Dad's passing on of Galbraith's "private wealth, public poverty" dictum when I asked him why Nanaimo didn't have any public washrooms...
Posted by Peter at 10:58 AM
Twelve and a half years at the Manse without a bear sighting but just after nine Daph spotted one walking up the slope opposite the kitchen window. I saw it just as it walked into the thick brush. We'll probably see more--all the oldish forests back of the Nanaimo area falling very quickly...
Posted by Peter at 9:46 AM